Johannesburg, Feb 25 (PTI) The South African government has expressed “dismay” at the prevailing situation in Ukraine and urged Russia to immediately withdraw its forces while underscoring the need for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in line with the United Nations Charter. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an all-out attack on Ukraine on Thursday, while warning other countries that any attempt to interfere with its move would lead to “consequences they had never seen.” “The Republic of South Africa is dismayed at the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. We regret that the situation has deteriorated despite calls for diplomacy to prevail,” the government said in a statement on Thursday. “South Africa calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine in line with the United Nations Charter, which enjoins all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered,” it said.
Ukraine’s ambassador to South Africa, Liubov Abravitova, welcomed this statement and termed it as “a strong message to Russia.” South Africa had until Thursday been constrained by its joint membership with Russia in the BRICS Forum, its strong bilateral relations with Russia and its suspicions about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) expanding its footprints into Europe.
“Armed conflict will no doubt result in human suffering and destruction, the effects of which will not only affect Ukraine but also reverberate across the world.
“No country is immune to the effects of this conflict,” the statement said, endorsing UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ concern that the invasion would have a huge impact on the global economy, especially at a time when the world was emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa said it emphasised respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, citing its own emergence as a democratic nation through peaceful negotiations after decades of white minority apartheid rule. “As a nation birthed through negotiation, South Africa is always appreciative of the potential dialogue has in averting a crisis and de-escalating conflict. In line with our strong commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict, South Africa urges all parties to devote increased efforts to diplomacy and to find a solution that will help avert further escalation,” it said.
The South African government has said that despite Russia’s all-out attack on Ukraine, the door of diplomacy should never be closed.
“We urge all parties to approach the situation in a spirit of compromise, with all sides respecting international law. In light of the escalating conflict, we call on all parties to resume diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the concerns raised and expressed by Russia,” it said.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry has denied claims that South African students were left stranded in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. “Ambassador Andre Groenewald is in touch with all the students. They’re not stranded or out of options. The embassy is keeping us informed. The South African and Nigerian embassies are extending help to other Africans. There’s a database and channels of communications open,” spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Clayson Monyela, said in a tweet on Thursday. PTI FH VM VM
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